Understanding Your Surgical Options
Each year, more than 600,000 women in the U.S. undergo a hysterectomy procedure. While hysterectomies are common, surgical options vary. Each surgical approach may result in differences in recovery time, length of hospital stay, incisions, pain and scarring.
Hysterectomies are performed one of four ways:
The latest advancement in laparoscopic surgery, the SILSTM hysterectomy allows for the removal of the uterus through a small incision (slightly smaller than the diameter of a nickel) in the belly button. The SILSTM hysterectomy offers many potential benefits over other approaches, including:
- No visible scar
- Less pain due to fewer incisions compared to traditional laparoscopic surgery
- Faster recovery time than open surgery
Also known as open surgery, an abdominal hysterectomy is considered the most invasive kind of surgery. Doctors typically will make one large incision approximately 5 to 7 inches in the lower abdomen (below the belly button) to remove the uterus and, as necessary, other organs. Recovery from open surgery generally requires a 1 to 2 day stay in the hospital and up to 6 weeks of recuperation time at home. This surgery can result in a large, noticeable scar on the abdomen.
Standard laparoscopic surgery is performed through 3 to 4 incisions (including an incision in the belly button) in the abdominal wall. Long thin devices are inserted through these incisions to remove the uterus. Patients who undergo a laparoscopic hysterectomy typically resume work and other activities within 2 weeks. This surgery may result in several noticeable scars.
In a vaginal hysterectomy, the uterus is removed through a small incision in the vagina. In many cases, this procedure requires additional incisions in the abdomen for instrument access. This hybrid approach is known as laparoscopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH). Patients’ average recovery time is 3 to 4 weeks. Vaginal hysterectomy and LAVH result in an internal incision or the combination of an internal incision and multiple abdominal scars respectively.
When faced with the need for a hysterectomy, it is normal to have questions about your surgery.
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- How soon can I resume my life?
- After I’ve healed, will I have a scar?
Now, there’s a surgical option for hysterectomy that can help alleviate many of these concerns. With a single incision hidden in the belly button, the SILSTM hysterectomy means that women can breathe a sigh of relief as they will potentially have fewer incisions, less pain and no visible scarring.
For women who undergo the SILSTM hysterectomy, the single incision in the belly button avoids the large incision made in the lower abdomen involved in typical open hysterectomy and the multiple small incisions required for standard laparoscopic surgery.
Potential for No Visible Scar
The SILSTM procedure requires only a single incision that is slightly smaller than the diameter of a nickel. By hiding this small incision within the belly button, the SILSTM hysterectomy may eliminate the visible scars typically associated with surgery.
Possible Reduction in Pain and Recovery Time
The SILSTM hysterectomy may reduce the wound pain when compared to traditional abdominal and laparoscopic procedures. Because the SILSTM approach only requires a small incision in the belly button, women can avoid the trauma associated with additional cutting through multiple layers of skin, muscle and connective tissue required to access the uterus, an aspect of other surgical options that may require extra time to heal. The minimally invasive nature of this approach may also result in the potential for reduced recovery time.
Compare Your Options
You may have a choice regarding the type of surgical procedure you undergo for hysterectomy.
The SILSTM hysterectomy offers many potential benefits over other approaches, including the potential for no visible scar, less pain due to fewer incisions compared to traditional laparoscopic surgery and a faster recovery time than open surgery.
The table below details the differences between the various options. These results detailed below are typical – your results may vary.
|Type of Hysterectomy
|Number of Incisions
|1 small incision (in belly button)
|3/4 of an inch
|Potential for no visible scars
|Abdominal (Open) Hysterectomy
|1 large incision
|1 large scar
|1-2 days, sometimes 4
|3-4 small incisions
|1/4 to about 3/4 inch
|3 to 4 small scars
|Vaginal Hysterectomy/ Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy